Review: Hyatt Regency Maui

Yesterday I wrote about how I wound up staying here, and why my Deluxe Ocean Suite was free.

I was originally booked at the Andaz, an the opening date for the hotel was changed so my reservation got split — one night at the Hyatt Regency, two nights at the Andaz. The Director of Rooms promised me a suite upgrade as an apology Then the opening date for the Andaz changed again, so I had to get moved twice. So they comped a stay at the Regency instead — and since that’s clearly a downgrade, and I was to be in a suite at the Andaz, they gave me a suite at the Hyatt Regency Maui as well.

And since Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members aren’t even charged the resort fee there, I was going to have a completely free stay — other than parking and anything I chose to pay for on property, which could be fairly limited since the hotel has a club lounge which I’d have access to based on elite status as well. Not bad.

My Preconceived Notions Were Right.. and Wrong

I don’t like big resort hotels, lots of people, or long lines. I prefer tranquility on vacation, which is why I love the Park Hyatt Maldives so much, and why I didn’t like the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. I expected the Hyatt Regency Maui to be in the latter category, what I refer to as “resort factories,” the kind of places where you have to get a book down on a beach chair at 8am if you hope to have a spot later in the day.

And indeed the hotel is large, I think it’s fairly well captured by observing that there’s a Macy’s on the ground floor (as well as other shops, like a Sunglass Hut). And it’s the sort of hotel that gives you cards to exchange for towels at the pool. It does get busy. Although the hotel is apparently quite aggressive about collecting peoples’ stuff if they leave them out for over an hour unattended.

But everyone at the hotel was really friendly, the atmosphere was great and relaxed, the views were stunning, the grounds are lovely and I enjoyed my stay.

They’re doing renovations, which are sorely needed, but that also presents an opportunity for great value here which I’ll describe below.

It’s not where I’d pick for the limited time I’m able to spend away for leisure but that says more about my own preferences than it does about the hotel.

The Deluxe Ocean Suite

I have to say, the views from the suite were stunning.

There were three balconies, though two were little more than walkout and the one with furniture barely fit the furniture. You’re not really going to comfortably lounge around the day on your balcony most likely.

The room could use an update for style, but everything was in good working order and it was well equipped.

Off the dining room there was a coffee setup with a pot and coffee grinder to grind local beans in the room. There was a telescope. So definitely some thought has gone into the amenities.

There was only one small trash can in the room, though – in the master bathroom – so I didn’t have a place to put empty bottles of water. I lined them up on the desk, and housekeeping never removed them.

Housekeeping didn’t ever bring shampoo, either, until the last servicing of the stay. It turns ou there were two lotions the first day. That’s ok, I grabbed a shampoo off the maid cart!

The bedroom was comfortable enough.

As was the living room.

The Club Lounge

The lounge is well provisioned in the morning with an extensive set of pastries, with cereal, meats, cheeses, and one hot item that rotates daily.

The lounge staff is super friendly and responsive.

But this has to be the busiest, most bustling club lounge I’ve ever been in. It was so busy I had to dodge and weave to avoid running into people or more likely their running into me.

Access is via keycard and I can’t imagine everyone in the lounge was entitled to be there based on booking a club room or due to Gold Passport elite status. The lounge has three discrete seating areas in addition to an area with some computers, as well as two small outdoor seating areas with a single table each. And the place was packed at feeding time.

I find that sitting outside was nice, you could close the door on the rest of the lounge and things would be much quieter.

Although the view from the lounge isn’t really of the ocean, you can crook your head if you’re standing outside and see the water but the lounge location really isn’t a prime one on the property. And it gets windy up there, too.

Food at the Hotel

I went downstairs to the breakfast restaurant one morning. Fortunately I got there shortly after the 6:30am opening, because the restaurant fills up quickly. Later in the day there was a line that wrapped around up the staircase to be seated.

The first question I was asked was, “Is breakfast included in your room?” It wasn’t, but I was hoping for something a little nicer and relaxing than the club lounge and also to experience more of what the hotel had to offer. The buffet runs $25.95++ per person.

There was coffee, juice, an extensive array of pastries, an omelette station, and a few hot items – pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes. In some ways it felt more like mid-tier city hotel buffet than resort buffet in paradise, but the latter would probably have been priced higher. And the setting is really nice, on a little lake, though birds would fly in and try to grab food off the tables (and a little kid at the next table was tossing food out to them, I was aghast when the kid tossed out eggs).

Room service options are limited. They don’t serve 24 hours a day, and the all day dining menu basically has salads, burgers, a couple of sandwiches, and pizza. That’s not a lot of choice. You really are better off going off property when possible. Still, after a full day’s flying I was pretty exhausted and just wanted something delivered. The food was fine, not great, but I had two general issues with room service.

First, they didn’t wash the lettuce so I didn’t put it on my burger.

Second, after finishing room service and ringing them up to collect the tray, they did not come. The tray was still sitting outside the door the next morning.

The lobby downstairs has an outdoor coffee shop that serves Starbucks coffee and offers pastries. This was actually one of my favorite spots on property, they did a reasonably good job with morning coffee and outdoor seating is really almost the point of being on Maui anyway. Though it, too, could get crowded..

I didn’t eat dinner on property at all during the stay, so I can’t offer insight into those options, I’m much more inclined to sample things outside the resort anyway and I’ll have a subsequent post on a couple of places that I recommend trying in the nearby area.

Insider Tips for a Stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui

Parking: Valet parking runs $20 per night, they apparently charge it to cars that are in their possession at midnight. So you could even valet during the day and move to self-parking and wind up paying the lower $14 self-parking rate. At least that’s how the front desk explained it to me.

Self-parking is going to be better for many guests, anyway. My room was in the Lahaina tower and if you drive past “Hyatt Guest Parking” on the way into the hotel and turn left just before the valet parking driveway in front of the lobby, you will find a self parking lot (you let yourself in and out with your room key, but can take a ticket there on first arrival to get into the lot) that is right beside that tower which is the tower on the far left hand side of the property if you are facing the ocean.

An Opportunity for Hyatt Diamonds to Save: I already mentioned that Diamond members do not get charged a resort fee here (Platinums are charged a reduced fee). But right now there’s another opportunity. The hotel is doing some construction out by the Lahaina tower and there are a block of rooms that overlook the construction. They are sold as “obstructed view” and generally run about $100 less than the other entry level rooms on property. That’s a great thing for Diamonds, who can use confirmed suite upgrade certificates from any Hyatt rate to get into a suite. While these obstructed view rooms are available it’s the cheapest way into a suite on the property. (Note that the basic suites on property aren’t large, about 550 square feet, in some ways more like a junior suite.)

Bottome-line: This hotel was better than expected. I absolutely appreciated the lengths Hyatt went to in order to make things right when the Andaz didn’t open on time. I have no complaints at all about a free deluxe ocean suite.

This property would be good for families, I think, there’s lots of see and lots of keep kids’ attention.

It isn’t secluded, private, tranquil — so not really my speed – and yet I enjoyed my stay. But then I don’t tend to stay on property as much in Maui as I might at some resorts elsewhere, so it made for a good base of operations in an area of resorts.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Looks over priced, old, and like you said a “factory” which is not what I’d want on a vacation.. This is the place for ppl to go w/ money that lack imagination and just want to get away from their mainland job.

    Thanks for the post, makes this look like somewhere no one that “really” travels should ever visit.

  2. I think it just depends on your priorities. If my children were still small I think I would stay just down the path at the Marriott Ocean Club because they have some rooms that have kitchens and more living area. I think that part of the island is fun. You can walk down to the village and there are lots of restaurant options fairly close. I toured the Hyatt property and it looked like there were lots of families there when I was there in December. Along that stretch of hotels I thought it had a good location. But for luxury I prefer the Ritz-Carlton further up the road. But I know you are not a Marriott guy, Gary. I did a combined AA EXP mileage run and Marriott mattress run to Maui end of the year last year so was just sampling Marriott properties. I think like many hotels this one will appeal to a certain clientele. I never liked staying in hotel rooms with children and always found places that had apartment-like set ups, so I have never understood the appeal of these kinds of resorts in the first place!

  3. Love the telescope! I agree it is a great hotel for families. The pool complex is pretty good with a whole section for young kids. The onsite restaurant Japengo was another good option for a quick bite the night you arrive. The sushi rolls were pretty good and they had outdoor seating complete with live Hawaiian/guitar music in the background.

    I liked this resort, and will likely return with my family, but would tend to want to use my Hyatt points for an adult-only Maui trip at the Andaz.

  4. Hawaii is my home state, and I am here too visiting family. Aloha!

    I absolutely agree with you about the giant hotel chains, which unfortunately predominates the tourist trade here. Whether it is the Four Seasons or the Hilton, it is still a big old chain. I read that Larry Ellison is hoping to start a small boutique eco-resort on Lanai, but unless he’s willing to lose money on it (and maybe he is) I don’t know how the economics of that work.

    That’s the reason I have generally avoided hotel credit cards – I don’t know if I want to feel pressured to stay somewhere I otherwise wouldn’t. We stayed in small family owned places our last stay in Italy, and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

    That said I got the SPG card, and that double bonus miles promotion is making a Starwood hotel very tempting for an upcoming NY trip. Oh well…

  5. @ABC the ocean is gorgeous, the beach is relatively narrow and the sand isn’t especially great. Frankly I prefer the less trafficked beach a couple of miles to the south.

  6. As a destination to me the whole west side of the island is somewhat overdeveloped and congested. The Alowalu development will make traffic worse. I guess overdeveloping here is sparing some other location. That said I still prefer Lahaina & Kaanapali to Wailea and the weather and sunsets are good.

  7. I love this resort. Been all over the world. Go to Hawaii from DC once or twice a year. Love the swim into cave bar area through the waterfall; the warm weather penguins, and other wildlife there; the atrium. Maui a wonderful island and outdoor paradise if you are an outdoors person. But then I find some of the quiet resorts that you like Gary as too quiet; better to just go backpacking into the backwoods.

  8. This is one of the best chain resorts on Maui, glad that you liked it. Too bad you did not dine at Japengo, it is one of our favorites. Also appears you missed the short walk up the beach path to Whalers Village, which provides additional dining options and an ABC store for those who don’t like to pay ripoff resort prices for soft drinks, beer, etc.

    As for beaches, Kanapaali may be narrow but it is never crowded. And the beautiful Napili Bay beach is just a short drive up the road.

    One thing you don’t mention is the absurd # of points required to book award night (I realize your stay was free, but that won’t be the case for most people). Often times better to find a discounted rate and then use those upgrade certs. As others note, if you want to spend less the MVC, Westin and Sheraton properties up the road are usually cheaper, if not nicer.

  9. @Boraxo I’ve been to Whaler’s Village, it’s even more convenient when staying at the Westin though I had a car and parked in the lot by the Lahaina tower where i was staying so totally convenient to get off property. I agree and did mention about discounted rates, eg the current obstructed view rates are great to apply a confirmed suite upgrade onto if you’re a Hyatt Diamond member.

  10. I stayed at the Hyatt a few years ago while on a business trip to Maui. I wouldn’t choose to do so again for much the same reasons described in this post and the comments. However, I think it’s a wonderful place for a family vacation. Reflecting on vacations we took when he was a kid, my adult son still remembers the wonderful times we had sneaking into the Hyatt pool — a wonderful fantasy of caves and tropical lagoons and slides and bridges — while staying at the Royal Lahaina down the beach. 🙂

  11. Gary I made the mistake of staying here last Christmas. They have a second temporary lounge at Christmas and it was the most disgusting experience. People came in their sweatty workout clothes. Others were picking the food up with their own hands and eating it with crumbs dropping back onto the serving platters. I couldn’t figure out if these guests were people who paid for lounge access or diamond members or what.

    At Christmas as a diamond don’t expect to much as far as a room goes either. We got upgraded to a room in the construction wing.

    However Maui is a beautiful place. Also I like the Hyatt pool and beach areas. Just want to caution your Hyatt diamond readrs to not expect too much

  12. you know that “telescope” seems like it actually might be called a pair of binoculars. 🙂

    About the lounge, I was here a few years back for a meeting, and the people who were attendees at the meeting all got lounge access, even though many of them were not Hyatt Golds/Plats or on the Gold Floor, it was just the deal they had made with the hotel for their conference attendees. I was invited to meet them there a couple mornings. The lounge did appear to put out even more stuff, a second table where all the bread and fruit was, so maybe something like that was going on during your visit.

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